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Discussion on "Environmental Justice and Water Management Challenges" with Professor Joan Martínez Alier

23 June 2023|Event

Last Friday, June 23, a discussion organized by ECLAC's Natural Resources Division was held with Professor Joan Martínez Alier, a prominent figure in the field of ecological economics, political ecology, and environmental justice.

On Friday, June 23, ECLAC's Natural Resources Division hosted a thought-provoking discussion titled "Environmental Justice and Water Management Challenges" featuring Professor Joan Martínez Alier. The objective of the discussion was to provide participants with insights into the perspectives of ecological economics and environmental justice, which Professor Martínez Alier has extensively contributed to throughout his distinguished career.    

Professor Martínez Alier has dedicated his life to the study and research of crucial issues impacting our planet and society. Currently, he holds the title of Emeritus Professor at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Autonomous University of Barcelona. His extensive academic career and dedication to research have been recognized with prestigious awards and distinctions worldwide, including the Balzan Prize in 2020, for his outstanding contribution to environmental matters. More recently, in 2023, he was awarded the highly acclaimed Holberg Prize, which acknowledges the originality and significance of his research.    

On this occasion, the professor delivered his presentation based on the talk given at the time of receiving the Holberg prize, titled "Land, Water, Air and Freedom: The Creation of Global Movements for Environmental Justice." Throughout his presentation, he discussed the growth of the industrial economy, and how this has consequential impacts on Social Metabolism, that is, the flow of energy and materials entering the economy as inputs and exiting as waste. A central theme emerged from this analysis, highlighting that the industrial economy is not circular but rather entropic, with materials being irretrievable. Consequently, this has led to a growing pursuit of new materials and energy sources at the frontiers of resource extraction, resulting in a "circularity gap" and the emergence of global movements advocating for environmental justice.    

More information can be found on the Holberg Prize website, which includes a summary of the presentation delivered: